Florence Biennale

This exhibition is set in the cradle of Renaissance art and its very name seems to link it to venerable, juried art shows like the Venice Biennale. But be wary of this and others like it. Florence Biennale is not a juried show and charges exorbitant fees for artists and galleries who wish to exhibit. The costs very often outweigh the benefits of participation.  Anyone have experience with this exhibtion?

8 thoughts on “Florence Biennale”

  1. Yes, I will be this year there and will give you a feedback.
    I was told by a person/artist that Florence Biennale is the place to be and so I ended up there.
    The big question that bothers me is, if it’s such a scam and art specialists knows it, why famous artist like Christo and Abramovich and Prada and mani more are accepting art prise from them? Whith this they are kindly inviting us to participate and then the same people are judging us. This is not wright.

  2. I participated in the Florence Biennial about ten years ago, knowing full well what it was and how much it cost. The fees to exhibit were around $2000 if my memory is correct. I also had to pay my airfare, hotel and food. I found it very worthwhile. I went with another artist friend and we shared some costs. I figured out a way to bring my paintings with me on the plane, which only cost me an additional $100 round trip. I met some great artists from other countries and continued the friendships. The dates are at a good time to visit Florence. The Uffici was virtually EMPTY (worth the whole trip and all the expenses) and I did not have to wait in line to get in. The city puts on a wonderful opening parade with musicians and costumed dancers for the Biennial. I attended the event daily during the exhibition, staying near my work, and got to talk with many people. It was pure fun! I know a lot about scams, so I looked into this before paying, and knowing what it was about without any illusions made a great trip. I did not sell anything – not many artists did. There were 750 artists exhibiting so it was very busy, but well organized in my opinion. Many curators and art professionals know it is a pay-for-your-show venue, so I don’t list it anymore on my resume, but if you want a fun time in Italy then I recommend it.

  3. I was a sucker who participated. Sure as an emerging artists – it was what my ego wanted but was soon replaced by enormous guilt of the cost. Just the shipping (their shipper you HAD to use) was the price of a used car!!!

    I agree with Helen above – no crowds, and I mean NOBODY showed up for 4 days. We (some of us artists) took it up to admin and got some BS. Never got any gallery, collector offers BUT my name was added to the scam galleries that to this day keep pestering me.

    I met a wonderful group of artists and we network, one of them got a painting 1st Prize – which was in the long run just a piece of paper – never got a follow up from legit people or organizations.

    Stay away but do visit Florence! One of my fav places.

  4. Back in 2003 I received an invitation to this. I soon found out that everyone I knew who was on the International Sculpture Center portfolio section did, too. So they’re not terribly discriminating. I did some research at the time and discovered it’s a bona fide show, that if you pay your 1800 euros (or whatever they’re charging these days) your work will actually be hung on a wall in Florence for 8 days. And if you go, you probably have a good time socializing. But do you sell? Do you make contacts that actually advance your career? I did a little hunting around online and located an artist who had participated in 2001 and said if you sent him an SASE, he’d send you a letter about his experience. He explained that he preferred not to post his comments online. So I did. Here’s the gist:

    To summarize his comments in my own words, he enjoyed the trip to Florence and socializing with artists from around the world. (Noting, however, that the fair took place in December, when the weather is bleak, and it’s off-season for tourism, so don’t expect that market to come in.) People who have never heard of the Florence Biennial are generally impressed with the credential and he has gotten some mileage from that. He liked and respected John Spike, whose name was on the solicitation as a curator, but had nothing good to say about Artestudio, which seems to be the real organizer of the event.

    The minuses were that the show itself was poorly organized; it took place in a convention center basement; it received nowhere near the attendance the organizers claim; it was ignored by the press, even in Florence itself, and wasn’t even advertised in the tourist brochures at the hotels; almost nobody sold work; the participants were nickeled-and-dimed for extras above and beyond the entry fee, such as a table to put brochures on and tickets to special events like the closing dinner. In addition, there were some tacky aspects, e.g. an “exhibit” of offset reproductions of Prince Charles watercolors!

    The information he provided seemed very credible to me because he is not at all bitter and even said all in all, he has no regrets. But the basic message was definitely: proceed with caution. If you theoretically have several thousand dollars (entry fee, booth fees, travel and transportation fees, it all adds up) to invest in promoting your work, you can find much better ways to spend it.

  5. Florence Biennial. Flatters artists and then charges artists.

    Even more pernicious…
    Also another independent entity during the upcoming 2017 Venice Biennale is contacting artists. And then charging crazy money for “wall space”. Beware!

    1. Are you talking about the entity that exhibits at Palazzo Mora and Palazzo Bembo during the Venice biennale? If so I’d like to contact you

  6. I was “selected” to participate in the Florence Biennale several years ago. The fees back then were pretty pricey for an emerging artist, but the honor of being considered for an international event were tempting. The invitation seemed legitimate because of a positive quote about the value of participating in the Biennale by the Mayor of a city I’d previously lived in. I don’t remember why I was skeptical, but I wrote the Mayor to ask what she could tell me about it. She wrote back to tell me that she had never said what was written in their information. I still receive newsletters about the Biennale, and it may be a great art event to participate in, but I don’t trust an organization that makes up quotes to try to legitimize itself.

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